Friday, December 14, 2012

Fragrance Friday: Solstice Scents, Part 1

I'm going to be reviewing Solstice Scents fragrance oils the next few weeks, because I have a buttload of samples from them and don't want to review them all at once (for one thing, you would all unfollow me for being stupidly longwinded, and for another, I need more time to get acquainted with some of them). Today, I discuss the incenses.

I'm sort of neutral on incense scents in general. I didn't grow up going to church regularly, and the only church I did attend was with my aunt and uncle's family and I hated it and there was no incense there at all, so I don't really have the association of religion and spirituality and otherworldliness that many have with incense. I do, however, tend to like heavier, richer scents, and most incense perfumes fit the bill. Incense perfumes are anchored by frankincense and myrrh, but they vary wildly in how they combine those notes with others (for an excellent comprehensive guide to incense perfumes, see Perfume Posse's here). Solstice Scents has several incense-oriented perfumes, and many more that include it as a note, but I'm restricting myself to the incense-r-us scents I've tried (the only one I haven't is Scrying Smoke, which is just frankincense and myrrh).

Basilica (labdanum, frankincense, rosewood, myrrh, hinoki wood, sandalwood, galbanum, vanilla): This was the first incense perfume I tried, part of their main collection. It's, to my nose, the most traditionally incense of the three, though likely that title really belongs to Scrying Smoke. The opening is somewhat sharp, as most incense scents are to me, and almost bitter, but it softens quickly into a really nice, quiet, meditative blend of incense and woods, sweetened by a touch of vanilla. It's very wearable, quite unisex, and lasts about 8 hours on my arm. $15 for 0.35 oz

Inquisitor (myrrh, labdanum, beeswax, frankincense, amber, leather, fire): This one is very masculine on me, heavy on the leather and fire. It stays sharper longer than Basilica, and I'm not really crazy about the leather-fire-beeswax combo. I think it would be great for a man, or for someone who wants serious, legit incense, with all its heaviness and richness and sharp edges, and who likes leather. $15 for 0.35 oz

Night Star (nutmeg, patchouli, frankincense, myrrh, woods, lemon): The most delicate and feminine of the three, at least on me. It becomes cozy and wearable the most quickly, and it has some nice floralcy (probably a trick of the lemon + nutmeg) to it that keeps it light and airy, but the woods and patchouli make sure it doesn't flit off into inanity. It's my favorite of the three, because it's wearable and approachable and just so, so pretty. Night Star manages to make incense soar, float, and smile, but it is still incense, and therefore somewhat somber. $15 for 0.35 oz

The only other incense-heavy perfume I have is By Kilian Incense Oud, which is exactly what it sounds like (and has been mentioned before on the blog). I haven't reworn it since trying the Solstice Scents ones, though, so...I should really do that before posting this, but I probably won't. Off my paltry memories, I would say it's most similar to Basilica, albeit stronger and longer-lasting, plus, more oud.

All three are fragrance oils that stay very close to the skin, so they're very intimate, personal scents––one of my favorite parts of Solstice Scents is just that property, the fact that the perfumes always feel like they're just for me, a little present to myself. Others can enjoy it if they get close enough, but I always wear fragrance for me, and these fragrance oils make me feel decadently selfish, if that makes any sense. I sent them an email in late November thanking them for making such wonderful perfumes ("your perfumes are helping me get through a rather miserable time, and I cannot thank you enough"), and they sent back the sweetest reply ("it means the world to us that you're enjoying the scents so much and they are lifting your spirits during a rough patch"), so not only do they make lovely, personal scents, they're also just nice people. (And as always, everything reviewed was purchased by me; I have no affiliation with the company, and they don't know who I am, etc. I just think they're really great!)

Samples are available from Solstice Scents, and shipping is extremely reasonable––it's calculated by weight, so 10 samples costs less than $2 to ship (to Oregon, at least; since they're located in Florida, I can't imagine it would cost anything more than that for anyone in the continental US). If you want lotions or whipped soaps, though, you'll pay a lot more––my order of whipped soap and body ganache cost $10.40 to ship. Their packages always arrive with the nicest packaging, and very speedily, too. So go! Go now!

Do you have any particularly favorite incense perfumes? Have you tried anything from Solstice Scents? Next week: gourmands! Or maybe woods! Or leathers! It depends on what I feel like wearing, ha.
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